It’s been extremely hard to find the words to describe our heartbreak. My Grandpa Bob passed away this week, leaving an incredible hole in our lives. After sharing a lifetime, thousands of miles road-tripped, stories, adventures and more together – I had the absolute honor of writing his obituary. He was undoubtedly an influence in our move to the countryside and one of the many reasons we now own a farm in Jefferson County. I couldn’t think of a better place for his story to live other than here, alongside ours.
Robert “Bob” Wayne Abel, Sr., 84, of Winchester, Kansas, passed peacefully surrounded by his family on May 11, 2022.
His self-proclaimed “Tom Sawyer life” began in Easton, Kansas, on March 10, 1938, with his parents Rosa (Sass) and John Abel, Sr. He enjoyed carefree swimming in the creek, fishing and hunting while completing his education at Easton High School. He graduated in 1956. There, he met and married his wife of 62 years, Rose Mary (Winsor) Abel. He worked as a Machinist at Kramer Manufacturing in the years that followed.
Together, Bob and Rose Mary left “skunk hollar” and built their first-generation family farm in Winchester. Bob was passionate about the land he worked, family he raised and friends he shared. Over more than 50 years, his growing family collected an abundance of pride-filled stories including his equipment purchases disguised as “family vacations,” celebratory chocolate malts and questionable customizations to his hay mower among others. Many friends, family and neighbors share happy memories from time on the farm, especially gathering for Bob and Rose Mary’s annual 4th of July celebration.
For years, Bob and Rose Mary traveled the area with their band Country Magic – playing music and celebrating with all. Bob also served the community as a member of the local FSA Board, Planning and Zoning Commission, Oakhill Cemetary Board, and JCN School Board. He often enjoyed time with his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids including long conversations and stories, getting his hair cut, restocking his stash of snacks, roughhousing with the little ones, playing guitar, singing, attending football and basketball games, taking nationwide road trips and attending birthday parties.
Bob leaves a legacy of work ethic, humility, love for his family and exceptionally quick wit. Much like his collection of cheesy jokes, his gratitude for the life he lived was often proclaimed to anyone in earshot. His wisdom and frequent banter are both dearly missed.
He was greeted in peace by his mother Rosa, father John, brothers John Abel, Jr., and Donald Abel, and great-granddaughter Magnolia Abel. He is survived by his wife Rose Mary Abel; three children Robert (Connie) Abel Jr, Rick (Joanie) Abel, Jeanne Noll (Joe Foderaro); 9 grandchildren Jared (Angela) Abel, Brandon Abel, Kristin (Garrett) McMillan, Laura (Aaron) Crossley, Chris (Taylor) Noll, Josh Abel (Kristen Efurd), Jake (Sydney) Abel, Justin (Holly) Abel, Joel Abel; and 17 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held Monday, May 16, 2022, at Barnett Family Funeral Home, 1220 Walnut Street, Oskaloosa, Kansas. Visitation will be available from 9:30 am – 11:00 am. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 am. Interment will follow at the St. Lawrence Cemetery, Easton, Kansas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to National Kidney Foundation, Turner Syndrome Global Alliance, and Bloom Like Magnolia (purchase a book and select ‘donate’ when adding to cart).